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Seasoned pepper or Creole seasoning is the key to adding a spice cabinet’s worth of flavor in just a few shakes. If you can’t find either, you can roughly substitute with a pinch each of onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. This recipe from lawyer, policy advocate, and writer Maya Harris is inspired by her family friend Regina Shelton. Read her essay about the treasured dish here.


4 – 6 Servings


Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided


large onion, finely chopped

Kosher salt


green bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped


celery stalks, chopped


garlic cloves, finely chopped


lb. fresh okra, cut into ½” pieces, or sliced frozen okra


lb. smoked pork sausage (such as andouille or kielbasa), sliced ½” thick

cups tomato sauce

Cayenne pepper

Seasoned pepper or Creole seasoning


lb. large shrimp, peeled, deveined

Steamed rice and/or cornbread and Tabasco (for serving)


Step 1

Heat 3 Tbsp. oil in a medium pot over medium-high. Add onion and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6–8 minutes. Add bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are softened and just beginning to brown, 8–10 minutes.

Step 2

Add okra and remaining 2 Tbsp. oil. Cook, stirring often, until okra is crisp-tender and has lost most of its gumminess, 6–8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add sausage and cook until it begins to release some fat and plump up, about 5 minutes.

Step 3

Add tomato sauce and a pinch or more of cayenne to pot; season with seasoned pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook until flavors come together, about 10 minutes. Add shrimp and cook just until cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Step 4

Serve shrimp with rice and/or cornbread and Tabasco alongside.

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